During the summer heat, keeping pets inside an air-conditioned environment is ideal but not possible for some owners and shelters. Here are a some tips for keeping dogs and cats safe and cool in the hot weather.
- We are not on a stationary planet. As such, the places that provide shade in your yard in the morning will not be shady in the afternoon. A dog house is not adequate shade – more like a place to bake bread. Dogs left outdoors during daylight hours in the summer must have access to shade all day long.
- Anything left outside in this weather heats up, including buckets of cold water. It is not enough to put out a bowl of cold water in the morning – the water bowl must be rinsed of debris (insects, pine straw, etc.) and replenished throughout the day. Some dogs will dunk their heads in their water buckets in an attempt to cool down which further dirties the water. Buckets should be kept in the shade to reduce algae formation and the time it takes for the water to heat up.
- Many dogs enjoy having the sprinkler left on or wading in a kiddie pool. Even dogs who don’t enjoy these activities will sometimes roll around in the wet grass that’s left in the aftermath. We have both kinds of dogs at our house so everybody gets some manner of cool down they enjoy.
- Here’s Bernice Clifford from the Animal Farm Foundation showing how to make ice bucket treats for dogs. They’re cool, they provide enrichment for bored dogs, they’re cheap and easy – suitable for owned pets and shelter pets.
- Kibble dehydrates pets. If possible, feed dogs and cats light meals (some pets will reduce the amount of food consumed naturally in hot weather) of home prepared or canned pet food during a heat wave. This reduces the amount of water they need to consume.
- Dogs in cars – just say no.
I know readers will have more good tips for keeping pets safe and comfortable in the summer heat. Please share in the comments.